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Repeated incursions by South Indians, particularly the Cholas, into Sri Lankan territory occurred throughout the next few centuries and led to the engagement of the rival forces in battle.In one famous encounter, Sinhalese King Dutugemunu (200 BC) raised an army of eleven thousand in his battle against the Chola invader King Elara, whom he eventually defeated.Much like the Portuguese, they did not employ locals in their military, and preferred to live in isolation, pursuing their interests in trade and commerce.Like the Portuguese, they defended their forts with their own forces, but unlike the Portuguese, Dutch forces employed Swiss and Malay mercenaries.This marked the first overseas expedition in Sri Lankan military history.It is also reported that Parakramabahu's fame was such that his assistance was sought by South Indian rulers who were involved in internecine struggles.

In the face of repeated British assaults, the Kandyans were forced into a degree of guerilla warfare and fared well against their superior British adversaries.In 1602 Dutch explorers first landed in Sri Lanka, which was then under Portuguese control.By 1658 they had completely ousted the Portuguese from the coastal regions of the island.Yet, until the entire island was ceded to the British in 1815, regional kingdoms maintained most of their independent defence forces and were able to successfully repulse repeated thrusts by the European armies.However the British, unlike their counterparts, were not primarily restricted to maritime power, and thus had the capability to bring the entire island under their control and to integrate locals into the British defence forces.

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